Sweden took no steps to fulfill obligations on NATO accession: Ankara
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu indicates that Sweden is not serious about its obligations to enter NATO.
Turkey does not believe Sweden is taking tangible steps to fulfill its commitments to Ankara regarding the country's NATO membership, according to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Sweden-Turkey relations have deteriorated as a result of the recent contentious demonstration by Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs, who burned the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm after gaining authorization from Swedish authorities.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Sweden should not rely on Turkish support for its NATO membership application. According to a source, trilateral talks on NATO membership between Turkey, Sweden, and Finland were postponed at Ankara's request last week.
"We haven't seen any concrete steps, convincing concrete steps from Sweden, particularly, to honor their commitments and to implement this trilateral memorandum," Cavusoglu said at a press conference with his Estonian counterpart, Urmas Reinsalu.
The minister added that Turkey does not impose the idea of separate NATO bids on Finland and Sweden, but Ankara is ready to reconsider Helsinki's application if there is such a decision.
"At this moment, it is not up to Turkey to separate [Sweden's, Finland's NATO bids]. It is up to these two countries, but mainly NATO. If NATO and the two countries decide to separate the membership processes of Finland and Sweden, Turkey will of course reconsider Finland's membership separately, and more favorably, I can say," Cavusoglu said.
On Tuesday, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that the country could consider an accession procedure separate from Sweden after Stockholm hit a roadblock on its NATO path over tensions with Ankara. However, later in the day he denied that Helsinki was considering such a possibility and said that Finland and Sweden continued to act jointly.
A few days earlier, Erdogan said that Ankara may decide to make a "different" decision on Finland's bid for NATO membership that would inevitably "shock" Sweden.
"If necessary, we may deliver a different message [answer] on Finnish membership. Sweden will be shocked when we give a different message on Finland," Erdogan said at a meeting with young people in the city of Bilecik.
Following the outbreak of the Ukraine war, Sweden and Finland both submitted applications to join NATO last year. However, their bids for accession require the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states to be considered.
Turkey is one of the two remaining countries to have not approved the applications, and they're trying to draw as many concessions as possible from the Scandinavian countries in exchange for approval on their ascension into NATO.